Risk of Smoking During Pregnancy
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We all know smoking poses health risks—especially for women who are expecting. The smoke emitted from cigarettes contains thousands of toxic chemicals, including nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide. But what exactly are the dangers of lighting up during pregnancy? The answers are sobering, especially considering that 13% of American women continue to smoke throughout their pregnancies.
- Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, which can be fatal for both mother and baby
- Higher percentages of miscarriage and stillbirth
- Twice the chance of placental complications, such as placenta previa and placental abruption, both of which can result in the death of both mother and baby
- Slowed growth of the fetus and lower birth weights, which can cause severe physical impairments and mental retardation
- 30% increase in the risk of a premature delivery
- Higher risk of physical birth defects
- Increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) after birth
- More chances of developing learning disabilities, asthma, behavioral disorders, and other problems during early childhood
Although you can’t reverse the damage that’s already been done as a result of smoking during pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop. The sooner a mother quits, the lower the chances of low birth weight, chronic conditions, and fatalities. A pregnant woman should also avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, which can cause some of the same risks to her unborn baby.